9 October 2000

Customer Satisfaction Center
KitchenAid Portable Appliances
PO Box 218
St. Joseph, MI 49085-0218

SUBJ: KitchenAid Ultra Coffee Maker, Model # KCM200 OB0, S/N #WCJ4301535

Dear Sir:

Enclosed you will find "most" of the subject coffee maker, it being the second one I've had the pleasure of owning (you replaced the original one last January). This isn't meant to be a joke, and I certainly do not expect you to replace or repair it. It is merely a symbol of the frustration we've gone through in having to use this coffee maker for the past 10 months.

I cannot tell you the satisfaction I felt when I threw the subject KitchenAid Ultra Coffee Maker, as hard as I could, off my front porch this morning on to the concrete below. Today is a holiday, and I was really looking forward to my first cup of coffee this morning. When I found coffee (and grounds) all over the counter and coffee grounds in the carafe, I just couldn't tolerate it any more. I took the coffee maker outside and made the "ultimate" repair. I'm returning the pieces to you in hopes that you will share my frustration with your design engineers and that it will inspire them to produce a better coffee maker!

I must admit, after going through all the "pieces", that this appears to be a well-made coffee maker with quality parts. I've been repairing coffee makers since my teens, usually only replacing the burner and/or water-heating element. With regards to the coffee maker that was replaced by the KitchenAid Ultra, I had replaced the "guts" of it twice over its 20-year lifetime. Unfortunately, parts for our previous coffee maker (Farberware) are no longer available.

Background Info: This all began with your "No Spill Glass Carafe", which (unfortunately) drips terribly when pouring from a carafe that's 2/3's or more full. I wrote you a letter last January where all that I asked was that you inform me when you make available a "non-dribble" carafe (which I could purchase). You sent me another coffee maker and unfortunately (again), the new coffee maker's carafe "dribbled" even worse than the original one. In June, you sent me another carafe. This one did pour better than the previous two, but still dribbles when pouring the first few cups of coffee. Bottom line - we learned to live with the dribbling carafe. Where the frustration became unbearable was when on more than eight occasions the filter assembly overflowed during the brew cycle and coffee grounds overflowed into the carafe. On three of those occasions (the last time this morning, just before the coffee maker came to its untimely demise), coffee and grounds not only overflowed into the carafe, but all over the counter around the coffee maker. We didn't do anything different - same coffee, same filters, etc.

If this had been a $20-30 coffee maker, I never would have written and I would have "retired" it in short order. But this is an $80 coffee maker (not including P&H), made by an extremely reputable company, and when I spend more money for a superior product I expect to get superior performance. I'm a big believer in the saying "you get what you pay for". Well... we certainly "got it"... but it wasn't quality, and it wasn't superior performance.

As I've stated in all my letters to you, please do not construe this to be an attack against KitchenAid. We thoroughly enjoy your (other) products! We purchased a KitchenAid refrigerator and dishwasher, and they are the best we've ever owned. I do think you need to reevaluate your coffee maker design, though. I've been a "beta" tester of both products and software, and that's what I felt like with your coffee maker. Hey... coffee makers have been around for some time, and I do believe the technology is now mature. At my age, I do not desire, nor do I "feel the need" to experiment with dribbling carafes and overflowing filter assemblies. I just want to get up in the morning and enjoy my first cup of coffee. I will admit - your KitchenAid Ultra does make one of the finest cups of coffee I've had the pleasure of drinking - despite its continuous dribbling carafe and occasional overflowing of coffee and grounds. Good luck with future coffee makers, and I look forward to some day trying a "less buggy" KitchenAid coffee maker.

Thank you for listening.

P.S. Kudos to your Customer Service (seriously!). The fact that you communicate with your customers does a lot to inspire customer loyalty. My wife and I are "fans" of KitchenAid, and despite our frustrations with your coffee maker, we are still loyal KitchenAid customers.